Wednesday 24 September 2014

Home Mooring Tuesday 23 Sept 2014

Not the best of moorings last night with lots of road noise, we were away at our normal 10 am.

Ethel and Starling were still moored at Streethay on the towpath DSCF7149and looked splendid in the sunshine. How people live and sleep on their boats adjacent to this road I don’t know.

As we approached Fradley Junction they were lime spreading on the field adjacent to the tow path so I was quite pleased we didn’t moor in this area last nigh.DSCF7156

I picked up a good blade full when pulling in for Diana to operate Fradley swing bridge but most of it came off with a few bursts of backwards and forwards. The junction was very quiet and the first boat we met was coming down Middle Lock. It was here that Diana noticed something trailing behind the boat. Some how we had picked up a disintegrating golf ball. If you have ever taken one of these to pieces you will know that at the centre there is a small rubber ball filled with a liquid under pressure, wrapped around this is yards and yards of elastic and finally there is the hard dimpled covering. In this case the hard cover had gone and the elastic was attached to the boat,the wrapped ball was several yards behind and slowly unwrapping. As I tried to pull it in and lift it from the water it unwrapped even faster.

At Woodend Lock the top gate looks in danger of collapsing with the wall behind the heal of the gate cracking away and allowingDSCF7164 water behind it over the full depth of the lock. I rand CaRT straight away as well as sending an email with photos.DSCF7162 

We continued on to our marina and this time I turned in cleanly, well there was no one watching so I would. First we called at the service quay for a pump out and then made our way to our berth.

Passing under the bridge that joins the two haves of the marina the tree alongside was full of Swallows, I wonder how muchDSCF7167 longer they will be with us.

You can see our location shown on on Paul’s digital map running on Memory Maps http://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/wr/index.htmlIMG_0161[1]  I track this on my IPod. The location is spot on showing our route through the two parts of the marina, including reversing off the service quay, right down to our mooring and the contact information for the marina is just visible on the left had edge of the screen shot.

Once we were moored up and unloaded I spent a few minutes painting the red oxide rust covering on the slides blue, its still rough but the right colour.

We were away at about 3pm but got snarled up where the A14 comes off the M6 at the new junction they are building.

Until the next time.

day 16 Today’s journey 6.3 miles 1 swing bridge 1 junction, 2 canals and 3 locks

Monday 22 September 2014

Huddlesford Monday 22 September 2014

It was a chilly 5° when we looked out this morning, most of the boats we had been with for the weekend had left. The mist was rising from the canal as the sun started to make its way through.DSCF7124 These two ducks agreed to pose for me and didn’t even ask for payment.DSCF7130 

Graham was taking Jannock for a walk, he was actually pulling the bow round as he had slipped out between boats so was unable to drive round in the space available.DSCF7137

We were the last one to leave the lay by at 10 45 am turning sharp left in front of The Samuel Barlow and heading back towards Fazeley Junction. Shortly before the junction are the two Glascote locks, as we arrived a boater coming up was just opening the bottom gates, so we waited for them to vacate the lock before descending. A second boat was just turning the bottom lock so we were able to leave the bottom gates open when we left and passing the other boat between the lock go straight into the bottom lock to drop down that as well.

At the junction we turned to the right and almost immediately stopped to fill the water tank. By now the sun was quite warm.

In Fazeley we passed this boat called Gems, each letter is the first letter of their grandchildren's names.DSCF7140 Its a good joy they weren't Charles Amelia Rose and Teresa, just imagine that on the side of your boat.

In Wittington we passed a rather fine Monkey Puzzle Tree in a garden beside the canal, as you can see its supporting some fine seed pods.DSCF7141 Why do cows like to stand in water, there were a couple here when we came down but today most of the heard were in their, just standing up to there knees. Not eating or drinking, just standing there.DSCF7145 We decided to stop for the night a short way passed Huddlesford Junction where one day hopefully we will be able to leave the main line and go down the Wyrley and Essington canal to Birmingham. We have moored nearer to the new Kings Orchard Marina than the junction. This leaves us a reasonable bit to do tomorrow to make sure the batteries are fully charged before we leave the boat.

day 15 Today’s Journey 11 miles, 2 canals, 2 locks and 2 junctions in around 5 hours.

Friday 19 September 2014

Alvecote Marina Friday 19 September 2014

Last night the four of us went for an Indian meal at The Indigo Lounge in Polesworth. The offer a meal for £9-95 which with a couple of beers filled us nicely for the night. What we hadn’t realised that the engineering works opposite was now working a shift system but it went quiet around midnight. They manufacture transmission parts so its all heavy metal machining that takes place.

10 am this morning and we were on the move, we only had just over 2 miles to go to Alvecote Marina where we are spending the weekend at the CIBC rally.

The Coventry Canal still has the old original stone mile stones set into the towpath along the route.DSCF6982

Graham arrived at the marina before us and was moored beside the Samuel Barlow. It was suggested that I collected another members boat, The Black Pig, which was moored on the towpath side and bring that over as well. The manoeuvre  went surprisingly well and I brought both boats in nicely backwardsDSCF6996 against Grahams boat. We had just finished securing everything and patting ourselves on the back when another member arrived and slid in , again backwards against the Black Pig but as he was a good 10ft. longer we decided he would be better next to Graham’s boat. So I untied and took both the boat back out, shuffled along and then brought them back in again once more

day 14 Today’s Journey 2.2 miles

Thursday 18 September 2014

Polesworth again Thursday 18 September 2014

A very warm night last night, we had the hatch open all night.

Departed at 0840 this morning well before the sun was out. This pair of Swans have done well rearing 8 cygnets.DSCF6965

A quiet run to Atherstone but we still managed to meet the only boat of the journey on a bend with a large willow overhanging on the offside.

Passing Grendon Wharf the home of South Midlands Transport there is an old butty just right for refurbishment.DSCF6968

Just before we reached the Atherstone flight this train of slamDSCF6971 door coaches went by, it was pulled by an electric engine which is not normally see pulling passenger trains in the UK.

We winded at the winding hole just before bridge 48 and reversed back to the foot of the locks where while we waited for a call from Graham to say he was on his way, Diana washed the side of the boat. This is not the best side and I have had to patch the paintwork in several places.

11 am and we started our walk up the flight assisting a few boats on the way, we arrived at the top just in time to see Graham and Brenda approaching the bridge above the locks and the boat ahead of them dropping down in the top lock.
We were soon on our way down, Brenda steering and the three of us lock wheeling. We met boats at most of the locks to start with but it soon became obvious that other boaters had stopped for lunch and we started turning locks. The visitor moorings below the A5 road bridge have now all been designated 48hr moorings for some reason.
It was just on 2 pm when we reached the bottom, they carried on to the service point while we had a bite of lunch before joining them to top up with water. We then travelled together back to where we were moored last night at Polesworth.

day 13 Today’s Journey 5 miles, 2.5 in each direction. We did loads of locks but the boat did non.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Polesworth Wednesday 17 September 2014

Back to our normal 10 am. start, several of the boats moored here overnight had already left. We chugged down to Fazeley Junction and made a detour down the Birmingham and Fazeley canal to Fazeley Mill Marina to top up with diesel at 79p the best price we have found since Taft Wharf on the Trent and Mersey canal. DSCF6947On the way back we noticed a banner at Tolson Mill saying  they were doing coffee at the wool centre, so we pulled over and went in. Inside we found a new cafe that does coffee and cakes, served with ice cream.They have only been open a short time but its nice to see the old building being used. While in there we looked around the wool shop with every colour of wool you could imagine and buttons sold on a pick and mix basis by weight, just like sweets.DSCF6943 Moored  opposite was the Fibre boat, this is not painted by the way but vinyl wrapped like they do commercial vehicles .

In the roof of the bridge that leads back to the Fazeley Junction there are two eyes in the roof, these were to enable them to liftDSCF6949 the stop gate for maintenance that would have been at the junction and right under the bridge. The building at the junction isDSCF6952 continuing again, this has been very much a stop start project.

We turned hard right here onto the Coventry canal towards Tamworth locks, on the way we passed The Little Chimney Co. A onboard stainless Steel chimney manufacturer. He had a selection of his goods for sale on his roof.DSCF6953



  The two Tamworth locks are quite slow and someone has posted a little ditty on the bottom lock.DSCF6958 Just along the cut from here was a boat who’s paint work caught my eye, I hope you like it too.DSCF6957Just above the locks we pulled over for a session down the weed hatch where I retrieved some polly, string and a hard piece of plastic that was knocking as it rotated at slow speeds. Once this was sorted it was off down to Pooley visitor Centre where we got invited onto a boat that the fitter was doing for himself and his wife as a new home. He had incorporated lots of good points with the neatest insulated chimney I have ever seen and an electric oven that will run on a 13 Amp supply. After bidding him farewell we moved on to Polesworth to moor for the night, all the visitor moorings to the north of the town were full so we continued on through the next two bridges to moor on rings by bridge 52.

day 12Today’s journey 10 miles, 2 lock two canals and one junction twice.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Hopwas Tuesday 16 Sept 2014

We were a bit late starting again as we didn’t have far to go today. We actually started off going backwards to the water point. I even managed to pick a time with no boats coming by which was a bonus.While the tank was filling Diana walked to the rubbish point, on the way she passed this post at the junction. DSCF6914It looks like a boat on top of a post, but actually its a talking post, well it would be if it was working to tell you about haw a dry dock works. Once full we were away, some thoughtful soul has mounted a nesting box for Owls in the wood on the offside. DSCF6916

We met Rick on his coal/diesel boat Auriga. He was carving a path through the mud and as we passed I ended up briefly on the bottom as he drew what water there was away.

As we passed through Streethay we passed this splendid pair of ex  working boats moored up.DSCF6920

Why do cows like to stand in the canal, These two had just come to drink as they were looking back towards the field, there were not even bothered by the wash in front of their noses as I passed.DSCF6924

One of the gardens in Whittington supports a good collection of garden gnomes, here is just part of that collection.DSCF6927 Not to be out done a house a bit further along had a couple of straw dolls standing by the canal. DSCF6929

Just before we arrived in Hopwas to try to moor near the Tame Otter a Bee crash landed onto the slide, so I took a couple of photos before he departed, looking at the photos later it was quite obvious why he crashed like he did poor thing.DSCF6933 While talking to another boater who has just moored ahead of us Diana spotted this on the towpath and thought it safer to put it in the longer grass so that it didn’t get stood on. DSCF6937The head is to the right. DSCF6942A beautiful creature 


day12Today’s Journey 8.5 miles in 3.75 hrs with no locks

Monday 15 September 2014

Fradley Monday 15 September 2014

We were all set to go at 10 am when a whole convoy of boats came by, so we stayed put for half an hour to give them space. After crossing the aqueduct and rounding the bend with nothing coming I saw a boat coming towards us, it took a few minutes before I could see it was an ex working boat as it was right in the sun. I also miss judged her speed which meant we met in the narrowest part of that section of canal. i just clipped the offside and she held course close to the towpath and we passed without touching, just. Thinking about it latter if the canal had have been 6” narrower there could well have been a good jam as we went in together.

We tried to moor just before Tesco in Rugeley  but could only get about 3ft from the towpath. I had just pushed out when I heard Bop Bop Boppidy Bop, the sound that only a Bolinder can make. Seconds later Spey came into sight towing a butty. Nice and wide here so I just held back and we passed the time of day.DSCF6899  The butty has just changed ownership and as you can see the owner is quite pleased about it.DSCF6902

Once they had gone we managed to moor just before the bridge, as a couple returned from shopping were about to set off, just the job. After doing a bit of shopping we were off again, It seems that both next door neighbours on the edge of town keep birds of prey. The photos are of both birds.
DSCF6904 DSCF6903 

Needless to say we met a few boats in awkward spots but notDSCF6912 many, we Passed our marina where we had just a few spots of rain, the first all trip and continued on down to Wood End Lock, where to our surprise we joined a queue of two and one going own in the lock. The two directly in front where hire boats from Stone who we had seen set off on Saturday, chatting to them it turns out they were travelling together and both come from East Anglia.

At Shade house Lock we waited for a boat to come up and there was another waiting when we left. A CaRT volunteer lock keeper was on duty at Middle Lock and she had a notice with chevronsDSCF6913 on it that she swung to point straight down for boats continuing on the T&M or to the  right for boats like us going onto the Coventry canal. This was so her partner on Junction Lock knew whether to turn the lock or hold it for approaching boats.

Again with our luck a boat was just coming out of the Coventry as I wanted to swing in, but Diana had walked ahead and warned us both of the situation. Our plan was to moor for the night just passed the water point, but we were  lucky to get in on the end of the visitor moorings.

day 11 Today’s Journey 10 miles 3 locks and two canals in 5.5 Hrs.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Taft Wharf Sunday 14 September 2014

We started the morning with a walk round Burston, it has an interesting little church as well as a mill pond in the village. As a result of this it was 11 am before we were on our way.

At Sandon Lock there were a couple of boats ahead, one of them being a hire boat, with one man and four ladies onboard, one of the ladies explained that they had were doing team building for a client. I took this to me that the couple had hired a boat for a weekend then charged a company a fortune to take three of their employees on a team building weekend. The three ladies looked suitably bored sitting out on the bow of the boat when we passed them a little later.

By the lock moorings there is this mound but there is no information about it, but it seems its an old lime kiln.DSCF6884

There were a collection of small tugs and Canal and River Services yard at Western Wharf as well as the back end of a butty and several other interesting boat.DSCF6889

On the way up last week I photographed a horse drawn delivery van, I got a slightly better shot of it today. The car is still there DSCF6892but the other wagon has been moved.

Above Hoo Mill lock there are three concrete structures standing in the field beside the canal. They look like old air raid shelters, but why there?DSCF6896 Just below Hoo Mill Lock there is a very ancient fuel delivery arm from a fuel pump in the shed. You can just see the glass bowl on DSCF6897the right hand end of the arm.

We stopped at Gt Haywood just before bridge 74 and walked across the the Farm Shop where we bought a few odds and ends, it has a very well stocked butchery department as well as other fresh and frozen foods.

After this brief stop we pushed on, there were lots of mooring spaces above Haywood lock, but we had to wait for a boat to go down and another to come up before we could continue. Although the boat in front moored just below the lock we were in the same situation at Colwich lock. We were going to moor at Wolseley bridge but the moorings above were all full and below under the trees so we went a bit further just through Taft Bridge. There was one other boat here when we arrived at 1645 hrs but it soon filled up. I spent a bit of time changing the red blodges on the roof to a shade of grey, not quire the same as the rest of the roof but better than red.

day 10 Today’s Journey 10 miles, 5 locks in 5 hrs.